(see also ANXIETY)
Worry is fear's extravagance. It extracts interest on trouble before it comes due. It constantly drains the energy God
gives us to face daily problems and to fulfill our many responsibilities. It is therefore a sinful waste. A woman who
had lived long enough to have learned some important truths about life remarked, "I've had a lot of trouble -- most of which never
happened!" She had worried about many things that had never occurred, and had come to see the total futility of her
An unknown poet has written: "I heard a voice at evening softly say,/ 'Bear not your yesterdays into tomorrow,/ Nor load
this week with last week's load of sorrow. / Lift all your burdens as they come,
nor try/ To weigh the present with the by-and-by./ One step and then another, take your way;/ Live day by
Our Daily Bread.
How you can tell when it's going to be a rotten day:
You wake up face down on the pavement.
You call Suicide Prevention and they put you on hold.
You see a "60 Minutes" news team waiting in your office.
Your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles.
You turn on the news and they're showing emergency routes out of the city.
Your twin sister forgot your birthday.
Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell's Angels on the freeway.
Your boss tells you not to bother to take off your coat.
The bird singing outside your window is a buzzard.
You wake up and your braces are locked together.
You call your answering service and they tell you it's none of your business.
Your income tax check bounces.
You put both contact lenses in the same eye.
Your wife says, "Good morning, Bill", and your name is George.
If pleasures are the greatest in anticipation, just remember that this is also true of trouble.
Elbert Hubbard, Bits & Pieces, August 20, 1992,
To act out the principle of turning prayers over to God, we took a paper bag, wrote "God" on it, and taped it up high on the back
of our kitchen door. As I prayed about matters such as my career, my role as a father, my abilities to be a good husband, I
would write down each concern on a piece of paper. Then those pieces of paper would go in the bag. The rule was that if you
start worrying about a matter of prayer that you've turned over to God, you have to climb up on a chair and fish it out of the
bag. I don't want to admit how much time I spent sifting through those scraps of paper.
David Mackenzie, Still Married, Still Sober,
IVP, 1991, p. 117.
The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety. George Muller
Massena, one of Napoleon's generals, suddenly appeared with 18,000 soldiers before an Austrian town which had no means of
defending itself. The town council met, certain that capitulation was the only answer. The old dean of the church
reminded the council that it was Easter, and begged them to hold services as usual and to leave the trouble in God's hands. They
followed his advice. The dean went to the church and rang the bells to announce the service. The French soldiers heard the
church bells ring and concluded that the Austrian army had come to rescue the town. They broke camp, and before the bells had
ceased ringing, vanished.
I am inwardly fashioned for faith, not for fear. Fear is not my native land; faith is. I am so made that worry and anxiety are
sand in the machinery of life; faith is the oil. I live better by faith and confidence than by fear, doubt and anxiety. In anxiety
and worry, my being is gasping for breath--these are not my native air. But in faith and confidence, I breathe freely--these
are my native air. A John Hopkins University doctor says, "We do not know why it is that worriers die sooner than the non-
worriers, but that is a fact." But I, who am simple of mind, think I know; We are inwardly constructed in nerve and tissue,
brain cell and soul, for faith and not for fear. God made us that way. To live by worry is to live against reality.
Dr. E. Stanley Jones, Transformed by Thorns, p.
The Bridge You'll Never Cross
Fret not--He loves you (John 13:1)
Faint not--He holds you (Psalm 139:10)
Fear not--He keeps you (Psalm 121:5)
For several years a woman had been having trouble getting to sleep at night because she feared burglars. One night her
husband heard a noise in the house, so he went downstairs to investigate. When he got there, he did find a burglar. "Good
evening," said the man of the house. "I am pleased to see you. Come upstairs and meet my wife. She has been waiting 10 years to
William Marshall, Eternity Shut in a Span.
Worry is faith in the negative, trust in the unpleasant, assurance of disaster and belief in defeat...worry is wasting
today's time to clutter up tomorrow's opportunities with yesterday's troubles. A dense fog that covers a seven-city-block
area one hundred feet deep is composed of less than one glass of water divided into sixty thousand million drops. Not much is
there but it can cripple an entire city. When I don't have anything to worry about, I begin to worry
Connie Mack was one of the greatest managers in the history of baseball. One of the secrets of his success was that he knew how
to lead and inspire men. He knew that people were individuals. Once, when his team had clinched the pennant well before the
season ended, he gave his two best pitchers the last ten days off so that they could rest up for the World Series. One pitcher
spent his ten days off at the ball park; the other went fishing. Both performed brilliantly in the World Series. Mack never
criticized a player in front of anyone else. He learned to wait 24 hours before discussing mistakes with players. Otherwise, he
said, he dealt with the goofs too emotionally.
In the first three years as a major league baseball manager, Connie Mack's teams
finished sixth, seventh, and eighth. He took the blame and demoted himself to the minor leagues to give himself time to
learn how to handle men. When he came back to the major leagues again, he handled his players so successfully that he developed
the best teams the world had ever known up to that time.
Mack had another secret of good management: he didn't worry. "I discovered," he explained, "that worry was threatening to wreck
my career as a baseball manager. I saw how foolish it was and I forced myself to get so busy preparing to win games that I had no
time left to worry over the ones that were already lost. You can't grind grain with water that has already gone down the
Bits and Pieces, December 13, 1990.
Every evening I turn worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway.
Mary C. Crowley, Be Somebody.
Why worry when you can trust. It is like a rocking chair, it give you something to do but doesn't get you anywhere.
Worry pulls tomorrow's cloud over today's sunshine.
C. Swindoll, Questions Christians Ask,
Worry is wasting today's time to clutter up tomorrow's opportunities with yesterday's troubles.
Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.
God is a help in trouble. In worry you are on your own. When you worry, which do you worry about, what might happen or
what might not happen? Whichever, turn it around, to relieve anxiety. That's common advice in Scotland. For worriers, the
Scots have a proverb: "What may be, may not be."
What does your anxiety do? It does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but it does empty today of its strength. It does not
make you escape the evil; it makes you unfit to cope with it when it comes. God gives us the power to bear all the sorrow of His
making, but He does not guarantee to give us strength to bear the burdens of our own making such as worry induces.
A bassoon player came up to his conductor, Arturo Toscanini, and nervously said that he could not reach the high E flat.
Toscanini just smiled and replied, "Don't worry. There is no E flat in your music tonight." Many of our worries are like that--
unfounded and unnecessary.
Hudson Taylor, missionary to China and founder of what is today known as the Overseas Missionary Fellowship, gave this excellent
advice: "Let us give up our work, our plans, ourselves, our lives, our loved ones, our influence, our all, right into [God's]
hand; and then, when we have given all over to Him, there will be nothing left for us to be troubled about."
J. Arthur Rank, an English executive, decided to do all his worrying on one day each week. He chose Wednesdays. When
anything happened that gave him anxiety and annoyed his ulcer, he would write it down and put it in his worry box and forget about
it until next Wednesday. The interesting thing was that on the following Wednesday when he opened his worry box, he found that
most of the things that had disturbed him the past six days were already settled. It would have been useless to have worried
In 480 B.C. the outmanned army of Sparta's King Leonidas held off the Persian troops of Xerxes by fighting them one at a time as
they came through a narrow mountain pass. Commenting on this strategy, C.H. Sprugeon said, "Suppose Leonidas and his handful
of men had gone out into the wide-open plain and attacked the Persians--why, they would have died at once, even though they
might have fought like lions." Spurgeon continued by saying that Christians stand in the narrow pass of today. If they choose to
battle every difficulty at once, they're sure to suffer defeat. But if they trust God and take their troubles one by one, they
will find that their strength is sufficient.
An average person's anxiety is focused on :
40% -- things that will never happen
30% -- things about the past that can't be changed
12% -- things about criticism by others, mostly untrue
10% -- about health, which gets worse with stress
8% -- about real problems that will be faced
How to conquer worry:
Get plenty of rest; troubles often look smaller as you get closer; distinguish between those parts of life you can
control and those you can't; check your goals--are you worrying about unrealistic ambitions? Depend on God.
Happiness is a Choice, p. 171.